Hadi Choopan is ten weeks out from the Mr. Olympia, and crushing legs
The 2023 Mr. Olympia contest is just under ten weeks away now, and the competitors are gearing up and getting ready to battle it out to see who will win the Sandow trophy in Orlando, Florida on November 5. Hadi “The Persian Wolf” Choopan is coming back to defend his title after the 2022 win, and he looks like he means business. Recently, he posted his leg training which is absolutely brutal. Let’s take a look at Hadi Choopan’s leg day.
Hadi Choopan’s Leg Workout
- Single-Leg Leg Extensions
- Machine Hip Adduction
- Barbell Walking Lunges
- Leg Press
- Vertical Leg Press
- Smith Machine Leg Press
- Sumo Deadlifts
- Romanian Deadlifts
- Seated Leg Curls
Extensions and Adductions
The first exercise of Hadi Choopan’s leg day is leg extensions. He trains them unilaterally, meaning he does one leg at a time, which is good for maintaining muscular symmetry and preventing imbalances in the legs. Symmetry is huge in bodybuilding, and sometimes training muscle groups bilaterally contributes to imbalances because one side may subconsciously work harder than the other.
After leg extensions, Choopan’s next exercise is the hip adduction machine to work the inner thighs. Thickening the inner thighs is just as important as growing the quads and hamstrings, as the inner thighs give a thicker and fuller look to the legs overall. The last thing a bodybuilder wants on stage is a thigh gap.
Lunges and Leg Presses
The next exercise on Hadi’s leg day list is another unilateral movement, lunges. Lunges can bias the quads depending on how far each step is, and how much the knees go over the toes. When Hadi performs his lunges he gets good knee flexion on each one, meaning his quads are getting a good stretch.
When it comes to the leg presses, Hadi uses a wider foot placement which will hit more hamstrings and glutes than he would if he used a closer foot placement, which would bias the quads a little more. He makes sure to get a good, full range of motion, keeping tension on the legs and getting a good squeeze.
Hadi then goes to a vertical leg press, which is where the foot pad is above him and he is lying on his back. This is a piece of equipment that you do not see in many gyms, but is great for hitting the hamstrings and glutes, with a bit of tension on the quads.
The next exercise of Hadi Choopan’s leg workout is the deadlift, which you may be surprised by. The deadlift is an exercise that many people consider to be a back day exercise, but Hadi programmed them into his leg day. This is because he uses two different variations of the deadlift, sumo and Romanian deadlifts, both of which place a larger emphasis on the legs than the back.
The sumo deadlift requires the lifter to place their hands a little closer together on the barbell, with a wider foot placement. The Romanian deadlift, or RDL, requires the lifter to hinge at the hips rather than bending at the knees.
Seated Leg Curl
The last exercise of Hadi Choopan’s leg day is the seated leg curl, this is an isolation exercise for the hamstrings.
Heavy Weight vs. Volume
As you may have seen in the video, Hadi Choopan does not seem to use that much heavy weight compared to a lot of other bodybuilders. This is because Hadi instead focuses on his form, the squeeze, and the amount of volume.
Hadi makes sure that during his exercises he is using proper form. Proper form reduces the risk of injury, and also allows the lifter to hit the desired muscle groups with ease. Improper form can lead to other muscle groups being recruited, and that takes away from what you are trying to do.
During his workouts, Hadi Choopan makes sure to get a good squeeze. This helps to break down the muscles and deliver blood to them, which in turn will give a great muscle pump.
Another thing that Hadi focuses on during his workouts is volume. When it comes to training, he is not like heavy hitters such as Dorian Yates or Mike Mentzer who used the “Heavy Duty” training method of high intensity and low volume. They would do sets of 6-8 reps, with extremely heavy weight, and that last rep would be absolute failure, and they would do forced reps on top of it. Hadi does not train like that.
Instead, Hadi uses moderate weight and does some pretty high volume, often taking his sets to the 12-20 rep range, which many argue is the ideal rep range for building muscle mass. He also switches up the weight he uses on each exercise. If you watch him on a machine like the leg press, he loads up hundreds of pounds and reps it out, but on things like lunges, there is not much weight on the bar.
Another aspect of Hadi Choopan’s leg day that is worth discussing were the slow eccentrics, otherwise known as the negative portion of a lift. He explodes at the start of the lift, on the concentric, then returns to the starting position slowly, making sure to keep tension on the muscles.
Slow eccentrics are utilized a lot in hypertrophy training. This method maximizes the time under tension, which is said to activate and break down more of the muscle fibers than lifting regularly would. You get a good mind-muscle connection with a slow eccentric, and you can really visualize the muscle growing.
Hadi Choopan Leg Day Wrap Up
Overall, with the Olympia coming up in just ten weeks, we expect to see a lot more great updates from some of the top competitors in the world. Hadi Choopan’s leg day shows us that he is ready for whatever may step on stage with him that day.
Who do you think will take the Sandow trophy in Orlando?
Stay in the Olympia loop November 2-5, 2023, as Generation Iron will be covering it all!
Images courtesy of YouTube @hadichoopanofficial